Award for Political Bravery: For recall election organizers in Wisconsin, my home state. The governor, Scott Walker, pushed through anti-union legislation after massive protests earlier this year, and now faces a very serious recall threat -- only two governors have ever been recalled is US history. Meanwhile, those organizing the recall drive are facing threats too -- to be killed, along with their families. They deserve protection and our respect for taking on the task despite the threats and the difficulties involved.
Award for Frank Speech: to Paul Krugman, who over the weekend said that Newt Gingrich was “a stupid man's idea of what a smart man sounds like.” Gingrich's latest regurgitation fits the bill: he is calling for an end to child labor laws. This from a man who back in the 1990s Gingrich called for a restoration of orphanages. Gingrich said he wants to change the "culture of poverty" in America -- note that he doesn’t want to end poverty, but just change the culture of those suffering from it, so they will work harder as children while enduring it. A stupid man’s idea of a smart man indeed.
On children: Gingrich’s personal life demonstrates a man who has little respect for families: most people have heard of the hospital bedside divorce, but we should also remember that he was having an affair while helping to lead the investigation of Clinton during the Lewinsky scandal. Yet he is always trying to convince us conservatism is the ideology of family values. Such hypocritical moralizing is the tiresome hot air of a self-serving narcissist.